Determinants of Juvenile Court Dispositions: Ascriptive and Achieved Factors in Two Metropolitan Courts

Lawrence E. Cohen, James R. Kluegel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This paper examines the impact of stereotypical and discriminatory factors on the severity of dispositions accorded juveniles in two courts, Denver and Memphis, which differed in their orientation to juvenile justice and in regional location. Because the conclusions of earlier research on juvenile justice decision making are affected by inadequate data-analytic techniques, this study analyzes multivariate relationships among qualitative variables using Goodman's method of log linear analysis to investigate possible sources of bias in the severity of disposition for 6,894 male juveniles. Little support is found for the argument that race or social class bias directly affects the dispositions in these two courts. The implications of this research for understanding the prior pattern of contradictory findings and for the general issue of bias in the juvenile justice system are discussed.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)162-176
JournalAmerican sociological review
Volume43
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 1978
Externally publishedYes

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